Boy in hospital over circumcision

2009-06-20 09:19

Cape Town - A 14-year-old boy was hospitalised with a rotting penis in the Transkei on Friday after a botched circumcision at an illegal initiation school, the provincial health department said.

Spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said the youth was one of 48 who had been attending a school at Zele near Libode.

The man running the school, who has had previous brushes with the law over illegal circumcisions, was arrested on Thursday.

Kupelo said the youth was one of four taken to St Barnabas Hospital in Libode on Friday morning.

Lives not at risk

By the time he was admitted, the glans or head of his penis had fallen off.

Another of the four also had a gangrenous penis, to which doctors were desperately trying to restore a blood supply, while the remaining two had wounds that were merely septic.

None of their lives were at risk, Kupelo said.

The four were all either 13 or 14 years old, far below the minimum of 18 laid down by the province's circumcision legislation.

He urged parents to come forward and fetch their children from the school.

Schools in remote areas

Kupelo also said a 20-year-old man was arrested in East London on Thursday for performing circumcision on a nine-year-old child.

Three youths have died so far this winter circumcision season in the province, despite the efforts of health authorities to eradicate illegal schools.

Their efforts are hampered by the fact that the schools are often located in remote areas.

The circumcision ritual is seen by the Xhosa as a passage from being a boy to manhood.